Community Secondary School Enugwu-Agidi; SUSU College, Nkpor; Lighthouse Academy, Okija, Golden Star Secondary school, Amichi, Nnewi, Anambra state with Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Medical Student’s Association (COOUMSA),Awka, Anambra state, Nigeria Coalition of Eco-Social Research (NCEHR), in partnership with Live Mother and Child initiative and Mind Savers Youth Initiative have protested against the devastating effect of climate change in Nigeria, especially in the south east.
This protest, we learnt, was done in six different towns across the South-Eastern states of Nigeria.
Others who participated in the protest, as members, within their various communities include: Grace Women Fellowship International (GWFI) and also Department of Urban and Regional planning of University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus
The protesters utilized the opportunity to highlight several practices detrimental to the environment, which according to them, include: deforestation, poor waste management, use of fossil fuels that increase carbon footprint.
They however appealed to all citizens to practice greener lifestyles in order to save the planet, even as they beckoned on the government to create and implement policies that will aid in the global fight against climate change.
The protest which took place in different countries of the world was part of the global school student’s decision to demonstrate, through an international movement, called Friday for Future (FFF).
The international movement was aimed at awakening the consciousness of the government for strong climatic actions and a sustainable future for the next generation.
In Nigeria, the FFF was organised by the Nigerian working group of Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (NWG-CCGHR) which comprised of Nigerian students at the University of Victoria (UVic) and British Columbia.
One of the students and NWG-CCGHR member, Dr. Ngozi Joe-Ikechebelu, while highlighting the devastating effect of the climate change in the Eastern part of Nigeria, called on individuals, communities, civil society organizations and governments to implement the approaches that can promote a low carbon, high growth, climate-resilient path for national sustainable development.
She applauding the success of 2019 movement in Nigeria, noting that NWG-CCGHR is working as part of collaborative student-led groups designed to foster research and networking in global health among campus communities from all disciplines and levels of study in British Columbia (BC).
According to her, “CCGHR is a knowledge and research base organization that promotes equity in accordance with six principles that govern their operation. As a Coalition organization, CCGHR works actively to develop capacities to support relevant equity-oriented research and its effective use, helping to reduce the “know-do gap.
“Our group is committed to coordination efforts to ensure that Canada-supported health researchers contribute to the strengthening of national health research systems in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).
“CCGHR, as a coalition group engages with key policy actors and the public to raise awareness about Nigeria’s leading role in global health and the importance of research in the field” she said.
Ikechebelu, who addressed journalists in Onitsha, Anambra state, expressed happiness that Nigeria students called out on the government on the state of climate emergency in the country.
“They spoke out their present fears and future impacts of increasing Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and the need for public collaboration with the government of Nigeria to minimize human action that trigger global warming and hence further change the climate pattern with consistent heat waves, floods and storm surges experienced in Anambra State since 2012.
“There is an urgent need for them to be heard locally and globally for the necessary needed change to better our environment. They displayed their placards and angrily demonstrated within the school environment for about an hour, showing their dissatisfaction on the state of our environment.
“It was a brave attempt to take control of their future by joining the global fight against the destructive activities to our planet that adversely affects the climate. It is evident now that more than ever climate change poses a more immediate existential threat to the future of all life on our planet. Indeed, it was a campaign aimed at creating awareness and showing support for climate change action” she said.
The group also paid an advocacy visit to the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of COOU, Prof Greg Nwakobi where the NCEHR group’s activities was communicated to him. NCEHR, domiciled in COOU, is a dynamic collaborative group made up of members of Anambra state university academic researchers and community researchers of the state. Also, some academia and community researchers were involved in a public health enlightenment TV program on climate change at Anambra Broadcasting service (ABS) community on 18th April, 2019. The participants were Dr. Emmanuel Azuike, Public Health specialist and Community Health Physician; an Environmental Management Specialist, Dr. Angela Akanwa; a Civil Engineer, Engr Luke Eme; a Food Nutritionist, Dr. Obioma Agu; a Community Physiotherapist, Mr. Williams Ngene, and a community leader and moderator of the program, Pastor Hephzibah Agwaniru.
Responding, the Vice Chancellor commended them for their efforts in saving the environment and assured them of his collaboration and support.
He further encouraged the group to be committed to their common goal while ensuring that their interest in research development will be supported. He also pledged to make available, necessary inputs needed for smooth sailing of group.
Also, in Victoria, BC, NWG-CCGHR participated in the May 3rd F4F March to the parliament building with Ngozi and his son, Okemsinachi Joe-Ikechebelu. One of the speakers at the event, Mark Neufeld, BC Green party advocate for Youth and Intergenerational Equity and Lead convener for Institute for Global Solutions of Claremont High School was at the march and recognized publicly the representative of NWG-CCGHR.